I spent 3 nights in January at Valley of Fires National Recreation Area near Carrizozo, New Mexico. The campgrounds are surrounded by fields of lava. I now make a distinction between places to hang out for a while and places to just visit, see the sights, and move on. This is the latter – not a place I want to stay for a long time. But definitely worth visiting.
The RV sites are on a hill above the lava – water, electricity, and nearby – the finest restrooms ever! Don’t miss those. And views of sunrise, sunset, and lots of lava.
The campground for tents and cars is lower, against a wall of lava. Very cozy, not so windy, but without the distant view.
The accessible interpretive trail is about one mile long. Visitors are welcome to go off trail, but that is some rough hiking. Cassie and I walked it several times. The light is so different in the morning from the afternoon.
Cassie had to be on the leash. The lava could be very sharp on dog feet.
It amazes me that someone put a fence through this land.
They conveniently provide a pipe-scope to identify the insignificant hill that produced a lot of the lava.
This juniper is over 400 years old.
I liked the camp site I had. I sat out occasionally to read and just watch the world go by. There was little wildlife to see – I realized how much I enjoy seeing animals. Here we saw a ground squirrel (in the lava field) and a cottontail in the camp. Lots of birds – mostly quick, small, and unidentified.
Beautiful sunsets every night.
So this isn’t a hang-out place, or a retreat spot, but I will stop here every time I go by – in the RV or in the car. And I’ll walk that trail every time.